HIPS (High impact polystyrene)

The Best Plastics for Vacuum Forming

The plastic vacuum forming process is suited to a variety of applications across multiple different sectors making it the ideal manufacturing process for a number of plastic parts. The problem, therefore is understanding which type of plastic is best suited to your individual requirements.

Here at Ansini, we are experienced with and able to manufacture plastic parts in a variety of plastics all of which are best suited to different applications. Below are the various plastics used in vacuum forming as well as their ideal uses which will help you decide which plastic is right for you.


Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene – commonly known as ABS – is hard and rigid plastic with a high impact resistance. This type of low cost plastic also has impressive weather resistant properties making it useful for machine housings, luggage and vehicle parts.


High impact polystyrene is a tough, rigid plastic with high impact strength, as its name suggests. It can be cut, trimmed and machined easily and comes in a variety of colours. This low cost plastic is, therefore, useful in the manufacture of toys, signs and point of sale displays.


High density polyethylene (HDPE) is used mainly for caravan and vehicle parts due to its very high impact strength whilst remaining flexible. It is easy to fabricate and weld and is one of the lower cost plastics used in vacuum forming.


Polyvinyl Chloride, or PVC, is a low cost plastic with medium to high strength capabilities. This plastic is easy to fabricate, weld and machine and has good fire retardant and chemical properties making it useful for a variety of applications including packaging, electronics and automotive.


Polypropylene is a low cost, flexible plastic with high impact strength. It is chemical resistant and has impressive aesthetic qualities making it useful for chemical tanks, food containers, and medical applications and automotive.


Acrylic plastic is easy to fabricate and bond well with adhesives and solvents. Whilst this plastic is in the higher cost bracket its high quality, versatility and impressive strength makes it ideal for signs, baths and displays/shelves.


Polycarbonate is a hard, rigid plastic with very good impact strength. Whilst it is one of the more expensive plastics it is self extinguishing and therefore has many uses in the aerospace industry as well as uses in the manufacture of visors, riot shields and machine guards.


This plastic is highly durable and has impressive impact strength. Alongside its durability, ASA is UV stable making it useful for outdoor applications. It is commonly used in the automotive industry for car mirrors and grilles but can also be used for garden furniture and signs.


PETG plastic is an FDA approved plastic with a high impact strength that can be sterilised and is resistant to a range of acids, oils and alcohols. It can precisely mould and trimmed without sacrificing structural integrity making it useful for food packaging and medical applications.

For more information on vacuum forming, read our Complete Guide to Vacuum Forming or if you’re looking for plastic vacuum forming services, please contact the team at Ansini today to discuss your specific requirements.

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